Standing Up for Green Spaces

The NSW Liberal Government must end the destruction of trees in our inner-city areas. The Greens will always stand up for urban sanctuaries and green spaces. 


Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) [12.38 p.m.]: Today I bring to the attention of the Parliament the concerns of many residents, constituents and users of our wonderful urban sanctuaries and open green spaces in our city as well as those campaigning to prevent the loss of beautiful old trees in our inner city. Recently some constituents have contacted me expressing their serious concerns about the loss of old trees on Anzac Parade. For example, Judith explains that she, together with other constituents, is engaged in a struggle with the State Coalition Government to protect the Anzac Parade and Alison Road trees. She lives in Redfern and uses Moore Park every day. A constituent named Sonia writes:

I am writing to voice my ABSOLUTE and UNQUALIFIED OBJECTION to the demolition of the trees which line Anzac Parade to make way for the light rail line …

This is NOT progress—there MUST be an alternative to demolishing trees that are nearly 150 years old …

[This] is just a clear indication that, just like the WestConnex project, you are not listening—

Sonia is referring to the Government—

to the voice of the electorate who object to these "overblown" projects that will deliver no long term benefits or solutions to our transport issues.

John urges:

Before any more work is undertaken on this project, the Australian and International community need to be fully informed of the full effects of the project on our natural and man made environment, to be able to decide if this is the progress that we want, or not.

Last year the Total Environment Centre launched a campaign around the need for protecting urban sanctuaries and green space in our inner-city areas. It is clear that communities are standing up, not just across the electorate of Newtown but throughout the Sydney metropolitan area. These communities are saying they do not want the destruction of our urban sanctuaries and green space. The Total Environment Centre released the Urban Sanctuary Charter, which in part states:

A sustainable city must be planned on the basis of enshrined protection of its natural areas and public spaces.

Further it states:

Sydney's remnant natural areas and park lands, must be legally protected from urbanisation, over use, weed infestation, illegal dumping, pollution, poorly planned infrastructure and unregulated development.

In an op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald last year, Jeff Angel from the Total Environment Centre expressed concerns that the project had "catalogued more than 20 current assaults on urban bush and parks in Sydney alone". I bring to the attention of the House three issues that are threatening those who live in the electorate of Newtown and the green spaces and urban sanctuaries we love so much. The first of those issues is WestConnex. Acres of our precious Sydney Park will be lost as a result of WestConnex. This is an outrageous loss not just of old trees but also of precious green space. The City of Sydney has invested millions of dollars in amazing wetlands projects to revitalise that area in the heart of the inner city and inner west parkland.

It is not just Sydney Park that is under threat from WestConnex. There is also the outrageous destruction of 75 hectares of vegetation including the endangered turpentine ironbark forest and the critically endangered Cooks River-Castlereagh Ironbark Forest, as well as a loss of habitat of the vulnerable green and golden bell frog at Kogarah Golf Club. The most outrageous aspect of this loss is that when the original M5 was built these areas were deemed so precious that protections were put in place. Less than 20 years later, these areas are being destroyed as a result of the widening of the road.

Another serious threat that has been raised with my office is that of the loss of trees on Anzac Parade. We know we need to invest in infrastructure and public transport for our city, but that should not be at the cost of old and beautiful trees like the ones on Anzac Parade. There are other solutions, and we must make sure that the historic 100-year-old Moreton Bay and Jackson Bay figs are not destroyed. We also need an immediate inquiry into the CBD and South East Light Rail project and the loss of trees on Anzac Parade and Alison Road. On this matter, I support my colleague in the other place Dr Mehreen Faruqi.

The final green space and urban sanctuary area that is under threat is in Moore Park. A couple of weeks ago the Minister for Sport attempted what could only be described as a land grab of the beautiful Kippax Lake and green space at Moore Park. It is important for this Government to realise that green space and open space are not areas that can be grabbed for development. This space is a valuable asset at the heart of our city. As Bob Brown said in his first speech in Federal Parliament:

The future will either be green or not at all.

The Greens commit to standing with the community to protect our urban sanctuaries and green spaces.


Link to Hansard

Sign up for updates